A FORMER table tennis champion in York has passed away peacefully, aged 81.

Francis Gregoire moved to the UK from Barbados in the West Indies in 1959. He was from a family of 10 children.

Before he had left Barbados he achieved the Queen’s Scout Award, the top award for Explorer Scouts and attended the Scout Jamboree in Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario Canada representing the Island of Barbados.

When he moved to York, he started his psychiatric nurse training at Clifton Hospital in York.

When he qualified as a registered mental nurse he went on to complete his training in general nursing and got his qualification as a state registered nurse at the City and County Hospitals in York, where he met his former wife, Irene.

In 1968, Francis arrived at Killingbeck Hospital in Leeds to train in chest and tuberculosis nursing.

He became a charge nurse at the hospital, where he worked on Ward 2 until his retirement.

Francis was a very keen and talented table tennis player. He was a table tennis singles champion in Barbados. When he moved to York, he represented the city in the Yorkshire League and won the men’s singles title six times.

He was known as “the man to beat,” at table tennis in the local area.

As well as table tennis, he also enjoyed playing football, cricket and basketball in York.

Francis passed away peacefully at Leeds General Infirmary on June 16. He leaves behind his three sons, Mark, John and Matthew Gregoire.

Francis’ funeral was held on Thursday (July 2) at the Corpus Christi church in Leeds, followed by a service at Lawnswood Crematorium in the city.